Microsoft calls shenanigans on Apple's "App Store" trademark

Posted by Raven Lovecraft

Sometimes a trademark is granted to something that seems completely acceptable at the time but then down the road causes a lot of people to turn their heads. And that's why Microsoft is fighting to remove Apple's exclusive rights to the rather generic "App Store" name.

Apple filed for the trademark rights to App Store in 2008, but it's still in the pending process right now. In the filing it's described as "retail store services featuring computer software provided via the internet and other computer and electronic communication networks; Retail store services featuring computer software for use on handheld mobile digital electronic devices and other consumer electronics."

Of course, at the time, there was nothing else like it. There was no streamlined process of downloading software to anyone's specific mobile phone. But these day, "apps" are everywhere. So now, it almost looks kind of like someone applying for the trademark rights to "TV store" or "grocery store." It sounds kind of ridiculous.

And that's where Microsoft picks up the story. The software giant filed a motion on Monday seeking a summary judgment to deny Apple's trademark proposal.

"'App' is a common generic name for the goods offered at Apple’s store, as shown in dictionary definitions and by widespread use by Apple and others. 'Store' is generic for the 'retail store services' for which Apple seeks registration, and indeed, Apple refers to its 'App Store' as a store," the filing reads, as reported by PC World.

The submitted documents also include quotations from Steve Jobs himself referring to other platforms like the Android Market as "app stores." Microsoft hopes to use that as evidence of just how generic the term is.

While it may sound like a whiny schoolgirl kind of case, Microsoft does really have a point. It is way behind in the smartphone race, so it has a lot to gain by doing any damage it can to the frontrunner in the market. But, since we are also tired of having to avoid the term "app store" when referring to the Android Market or similar services, we hope something comes of this.